Truphone could wipe the floor with Google voice

There’s a lot of buzz on the web right now about Google voice going public. But there’s still a huge problem, text messages.

What people are looking to do is disconnect their number from their sim card. People are keen to have a number that’s theirs but not tied to a specific handset (voip, fixed or mobile) and are looking to Google voice to give them that functionality. The extra benefit being they don’t have to carry or use the same device they are device independent.

Google voice will only give you half of that functionality, the voice portion, the text portion is still left on your handset. So you’re left holding multiple devices again, if you want to receive SMS or MMS.

This is where Truphone trumps Google Voice, Truphone disconnects your number from the device, you can install Truphone onto most mobile devices and then insert any sim, local or roaming and it’ll just adopt that network as the transport, but using your truphone number as the ‘from’ number for both voice and text. So your Truphone number can deal with both Voice and Text. But you’ve spotted the tiny issue, it only works for mobile devices.

A little while back (august 2008) I wrote to the guys at Truphone with the following message, with the relevant one here being point 4 enter the Grand Central space (Grand Central is now Google Voice)

1. Number choice – The ability to choose a number from those available and or buy a ‘gold’ (and silver?) number.
Some carriers used to have the concept of Gold and Silver numbers, where you paid for a more memorable number.  If you don’t want to buy a number, you’re given the ability to select a number from the db. For example, my (GSM) number is XXXX 7887898, but my truphone number is +44XXX8804483, so I’d maybe try for  07978 887898 or 887899 for example.

2. Number portability – port my GSM number to Truphone.
James mentioned this in our short and bad line quality call the other day. I think this would be great as I could port my number to truphone and then use any carrier pre-pay sim card behind it for gsm coverage. Assuming truphone anywhere would still provide my Truphone CLI so it wouldn’t matter which sim you used. This I’m sure could cut my personal phone bill from a grand a year to a few hundred. The ability to disconnect your well known phone number from the carrier and allow you to move around carriers, both national and international would be a great benefit and provide a huge amount of freedom.

3. CLI choice – The ability to select.
I think there’s been some issues in this area with fraud, but the ability to choose either the GSM or Truphone CLI to be presented shouldn’t be a problem. People could put Truphone on their whatever phone and use it where there wasn’t any GSM coverage, but I would want to present my GSM CLI which my contacts can identify. (assuming you haven’t ported your number)

4. Enter the Grand Central space?
We don’t get Grand central in the UK and it’s had problems because it doesn’t do SMS, (no sms forward so resorting to sms to voice!). Could Truphone step into this space, by allowing users to register several numbers which are called in simultaneously or in order. The ability to define when certain numbers can get through or go to voicemail. The SMS capability of Truphone gives you a huge advatange over Grand Central here.

We know Truphone bought Sim4Travel and are working on their own sim for roaming, but I think some work on the back end of the voice routing, which could then allow users to tweak call routing via a portal would allow a much richer functionality to be gained and provide users with what they want, a number that’s not connected to a specific device that handles both voice and text.

7 thoughts on “Truphone could wipe the floor with Google voice

  1. Actually Google voice is considerably different from its ancestor GrandCentral. One of the major differences is that GV *DOES* do bi-directional SMS – and in a very effective way.

    However, in the transition from glitzy Ruby on Rails powered concept demonstration to cloud hosted and highly scaleable Google voice app, a lot of the smart look and feel has fallen by the wayside. Google voice is a very different product to GC!

    A couple of massive flaws in the existing GV product are:

    1. The product is North American focussed – and as such only has limited attraction outside of the US and Canada.

    2. In it’s current form, it is still a web-based app which is run on a PC-based web browser; it really does not do the ‘mobile handset’ scenario terrifically well.

    Truphone however *DOES* have the missing peces of the jigsaw puzzle to make a truly stunning and hugely compelling application that could disrupt the existing cellular market greatly!

    I can get hugely enthusiastic about some of the potential opportunities that are lurking behind the mobile contextual appication driven platforms of tomorrow where operators will give away unlimited bundles of voice, messaging and internet data in return for the valuable intimate relationship that they can enjoy with the end user!

  2. i dont see how this is a good tip…this program involves you having either a cellphone that can accept truphones application or an instant messenger…what if you have a home phone but no cell phone, and you dont have internet but youre able to check it at the library everyday for one hour, then this application is pointless and useless..thats why google voice is king and will stay king. you dont have to have the internet to check your voicemails or to accept calls, and you dont have to have a iphone or blackberry to use it. google voice ftw!!!

  3. For me Truphone is all about international calls…

    I’ve got a Nokia and more free minutes than i know what to do with – but I still can’t make or receive cheap international calls.

    Installed Truphone and now it seamlessly re-directs my International calls for $0.05/min (3pence/min)

    If i’m abroad, I can sit outside (with beverage of choice) in WiFi zone and make and receive (free) calls back home for the same bargain price – using my same shiny Nokia instead of some awful headset. And no nasty roaming charges 🙂

  4. Actually the trick is to combine Google Voice with Truphone and Gizmo Project. Calling out on Gizmo gives you great rates and the ability to set the CLI to your Google Voice number. Then set Google Voice to ring the incoming calls to your Truphone number. This way Truphone detects whether your phone is connected to the wifi or not and forwards the call to the proper place. Of course this only works on Nokia wifi phones, and you would need to install BOTH gizmo voip calling and Truphone on the phone. Until and unless GV begins providing a SIP interface, or Gizmo implements presence detection, I don’t see any better alternative.

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